Partisanship and Economic Behavior: Do Partisan Differences in Economic Forecasts Predict Real Economic Behavior?


Alan S. Gerber, Gregory A. Huber

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Gerber, Alan S. & Gregory A. Huber (2009) “Partisanship and economic behavior: Do partisan differences in economic forecasts predict real economic behavior?” American Political Science Review 103(3): 407-426.
Survey data regularly show that assessments of current and expected future economic performance are more positive when a respondent's partisanship matches that of the President. To determine if this is a survey artifact or something deeper, we investigate whether partisanship is associated with behavioral differences in economic decisions. We construct a new dataset of county level quarterly taxable sales to examine the effect of partisanship on consumption. Consumption change following a Presidential election is strongly correlated with a county's partisan complexion, a result consistent with partisans acting in accordance with the opinions they express in surveys and outside the domain of politics. These results support the expansive role of partisanship in understanding mass politics and help validate surveys as a method for studying political behavior.
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